Thursday, August 11, 2016


On Thursday, August 4, I drove to Clarksville to address the Red River County Historical Society during its monthly meeting. Several years ago I served as program chair when the East Texas Historical Association held a spring meeting in historic Clarksville, where we were treated with warm hospitality. One of the friends I made during that experience was banker Jim Clark, who serves as Treasurer of the Red River Historical Society. Jim's roots in Clarksville go back several generations and his enthusiasm for local history is boundless.  A couple of months ago he called with an invitation to provide a program for the Red River County Historical Society. We quickly agreed that a program on Sam Houston would be appropriate, since Houston first entered Texas at a nearby crossing of the Red River.

The Lennox House was built in 1897

The ornate Red River County Courthouse was erected in 1885.

I had not yet been appointed State Historian when I served as ETHA program chair in Clarksville. Since Clarksville had not been the subject of one of my blogs, I arrived in town on August 4 in time to take photos of several historic buildings. The 1897 Lennox House is a superb Victorian home built by a prominent family. Today it is operated by the Red River County Historical Society, which also has converted the castle-like 1889 county jail into a museum. I enjoyed walking through the restored 1885 courthouse. Downtown there are numerous Victorian commercial structures around the square.   

During the renovation sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission, the courtroom was returned to its original configuration and appearance.

The 1889 jail has been converted to a museum.

The statuesque First Presbyterian Church was built in 1905. We used this fine old structure for an ETHA dinner and for programs. At the church on August 4 there was a board meeting at 5 in the afternoon, conducted by President Pam Bryant. 
The First Presbyterian Church was built in 1905.

My program was scheduled for 6 o'clock. I parked at the church about 5:15, and Jim Clark came out to help me carry props into the auditorium. Jim told me that the Society had advertised the event, and as I greeted arrivals I met people from Texarkana to Paris. They all were history-minded kindred spirits, and many of the women were DRT members.

President Pam Bryant welcomed the crowd.

President Pam Bryant called the session to order, and I was introduced by Jim Clark. The large crowd was quite responsive to my Houston program, and afterward there was an extended Q and A period. 

Later a long line formed to purchase inscribed copies of my Sam Houston biography, as well as my Texas Gunslingers book. Later that night the 140-mile drive home passed by quickly, as I called up one pleasant memory after another of my afternoon and evening in Clarksville.  

Jim Clark provided my introduction.

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